Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To Bone and Back: Keersten's Race

Here is a race story from my sister-in-law, Keersten.  She recently ran in the To Bone and Back Relay with 7 other women.  Each woman ran 5 miles for a total of 40 miles covered!  The trek is NOT easy with it's many rolling hills, but Keersten did awesomely!  I asked her to share her story and also anything she learned about preparing for a race.  Read and enjoy!

To Bone and Back
I’ve enjoyed running since I was in Junior High but have had a hard time sticking with it since I started having kids. My husband has been in school which makes it hard for me to find the time to go, unless I want to push a huge stroller with two children. Needless to say, my running has been very touch and go. This spring I decided that I wanted to run a race. I thought about a 5K but decided on doing a 10K knowing that I was going to have to put a lot of time into working up to it (I was only running 1 ½ miles or so before I had to walk.) I realized that the only way to do this was to get up and run before my husband went to work – he has to be there at 7:00 am. Which means I had to start getting up at 5:30 or 5:45 to be back in time for him to leave. I’ve always tried getting up early to run and have never had the motivation to do it. But now that I had a goal in mind and a date to accomplish it getting up became doable. During one of my morning runs I passed someone in my ward. The next Sunday she asked if I would like to run in the “To Bone and Back” relay with her team. Someone had dropped out and they needed one more person so they didn’t get disqualified. She told me that it was 5 miles and I thought I could maybe do it. I was up to about 3 or 3 ½ miles by that point. I told her I would love to do it but that I would be slow! She seemed happy just to have another team member. I had just 2 ½ weeks before the race so I started pushing my runs a little longer each day. I did get up to 5 miles before the race, but only had only done it a couple of times.
Race day came and I was nervous! I had looked up my leg in the relay and realized that it was mostly rolling hills – something that I had never done before. We got to the start of my leg and waited for the girl before me to hand off the “bone” baton. While waiting my 2 year old wanted a drink so I took her to the drinking station. On the way back my group was shouting my name and I realized that the girl before me was there looking for me. (Apparently no one else saw her coming – there were a lot of people there.) I grabbed the baton and took off up my first little hill while putting in my earplugs and turning on my music. A few minutes into it I noticed people cheering up ahead and realized they were there for me (I only knew one of the ladies in the relay.) It was an awesome feeling. Because of the way the race is there weren’t tons of us in a tight group. Just the open road – and carloads of people cheering us on the way. I ran track in high school and this was the first time I realized how much I missed racing. My husband and kids also stopped a couple of times to cheer me on and take pictures before driving to the end of my leg to wait for me. I hit my first BIG ear-popping hill about 2 ¾ miles into the race. I have a whole new perspective on rolling hills now. It’s SO much harder running up hills than running on flat ground! I realized I was in trouble. I’d done 5 miles before, but not on hills like this. I got half-way up the hill and had to walk for a bit which was discouraging, but I knew my body wasn’t going to make it if I didn’t. I finally made it up the hill, turned a corner and saw the next hill. It continued like this until I got to the end. It was so hard, so hot (compared with running at 5:30) but it was still exciting. I handed off the baton and felt like I was going to collapse. I felt much better after having a drink and discovered that I had run it in under 53 minutes. We don’t know my exact time because of the rushed start, but I’ll take it. I really enjoy running but being part of the race was amazing. I’m doing two more races this summer – a 5K this coming weekend and my 10K in 4 weeks.
1. Pace yourself! I was a sprinter in high school and it was hard for me not to try to catch the person in front of me. You know how your body is and how far you can push yourself. Don’t rush at the beginning because it’ll cost you at the end.
2. Get good shoes. I bought some new shoes at Teton Running and they are great! Ask for help if you aren’t sure what kind of shoe you need. Also, make sure your shoes are tied well! I had to stop toretie my shoe during the race.
3. Know your race. If I had known the size of the hills I was running then I would have trained a little differently. I had run on a little incline but I was not prepared for the amount and size of the hills.
4. Set goals! Whether it's weight loss or distance, setting goals REALLY helps. One of the ladies in my relay started running because she needed to lose weight. She has now lost 110 pounds, ran her first marathon a couple of months ago and looks great. Also, tell someone your goal. Set goals together! Don’t get discouraged if you have an off-day with your goal. My goal this race was to run the whole thing. That obviously didn’t happen. I was very discouraged about it afterwards. It wasn’t until my husband explained how far I had come and how well I had done in just a couple weeks that I decided to drop it. I can set new goals and work toward them instead of worrying about what I did wrong.
Thanks for sharing, Keers!  Such a cool race story and such a cool race to run.  We might run this together next year as another relay, but we'll need more than the two of us. 
If anyone else has a race story to share, please do!  Send it to my email and I'll post it here,
Another reader, Robyn, who ran with me in the Scenic River Classic has written her race story and posted it on her blog.  Look on my sidebar for the link! 

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